Renewed Ethnic violence between Ethio-Somalis and Oromo reportedly caused loss of lives in Moyale. Regional Communication Head calls for intervention from concerned federal authorities.
May 7, 2018
As prime minister Abiy Ahmed is on a two days official visit to Kenya, the border town between Ethiopia and Kenya, Moyale, is experiencing another round ethnic violence involving Ethiopian Somalis and Oromos.
The incident has involved police force from both regions in addition to the involvement of defense force. The extent of causality is not known at this point.
Former Federal government communication minister, now Oromo regional state communication head, Negeri Lencho indirectly confirmed the news when he posted a brief update on his Facebook page yesterday: “The ongoing attack on our citizens is unacceptable and condemnable. The body with the authority [unclear if it is a reference to the Command Post] need to take measure to stop the attack in time.”
BBC bilingual reporter,Emmanuel Igunza,tweeted yesterday :
— emmanuel Igunza (@EmmanuelIgunza) May 6, 2018
Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), US-based Ethiopian news outlet, reported earlier today seems to confirm the violence in Moyale yesterday. And there was an exchange of fire between Ethio-Somali region special police force and Oromo region state police force. Federal defense force, added the report, disarmed Oromo regional police in the town and that there were heavy casualties. Residents are crossing border to Kenya leaving behind their homes in Moyale Ethiopia.
Addis Standard, Addis Ababa based news portal, quoted what it called “a message sent via WhatsApp to Addis Standard” to share what appears to be an eyewitness account :
- “The fire exchange started as early as 10:40 am before noon today. The shooting was started by Somali Leyu force and Garri tribe in intention of opening fire on Oromia Police station which [is located] adjacent to Somali residents on the Eastern side of Moyale town. The Oromia police station covered an area of approximately around 2,000 square meters. And this always [served] to block members of the Liyu Police from passing to the western side of Moyale town where many ethnic communities including the Oromo live. On [many] occasions this side of the town was their target and [was] always blocked by [the] presence of Oromia police station.”
Ethnic tension between Oromo speaking Ethiopians and Ethio-Somali has been going on for a long time now and sporadic skirmishes have claimed numerous lives.
In September of 2017, the ethnic tension between the two ethnic groups heightened after fifty Oromos were killed along the Ethio-somali and Oromo region in the east of the country and after more than half a million people from the region were displaced.
The new prime minister’s first business was to travel to the Somali region in an apparent move to ease tension between the administration of Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, who is seen as a TPLF ally, and Lemma Megeresa’s administration. As it turns out, the effort does not seem to be taking root.
When Abiy Ahmed returns to Ethiopia after his trip to Kenya, he obviously has a decision to make but again TPLF senior military officials are said to be still in firm control of power. There is even a rumor about a possible military coup against Abiy Ahmed.
On March 10, TPLF led defense force entered to Moyale town on “mistaken intelligence report”, as government authorities put it, opened fire and randomly killed at least 11 civilians in the town including a school principal. The incident caused fear among residents in the town so much so nearly 10,000 people from the town crossed to Kenya.
Photo : File
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